it's a tea party!
WELCOME TO THE TEA PARTY!
Happy April, my friends. So glad you're here.
I've put the kettle on, so come in and make yourselves at home. I hope all is well, and that Spring has inspired you to make a fresh start and follow some new leads.
Whatever work or play lies ahead of you this month, you'll need proper nourishment. To feed your mind and spirit, you can savor some of the many beautiful poems being posted in the blogosphere in honor of National Poetry Month. While you're doing that, sip some of your favorite black, herbal, or green tea, and wrap your lips around a favorite sweet. Taking the time to slow down, relax, and reflect will enhance your focus and concentration.
Now, I have a confession to make. I've never had a cup of coffee in my entire life. Sure, I smelled the fresh brew and watched zombies miraculously come to life under its influence. But I was never tempted.
Tea is an entirely different story. I grew up around Japanese green tea and the Jasmine served in Chinese restaurants. They calmed and cleansed after a large meal, and seemed to ignite sparkling conversation. Occasionally I even cavorted with a Lipton's tea bag.
But it wasn't until I took my sparkling self to England that I became a true tea lover. Those of you who delight in the wonderful ritual of "afternoon tea" know exactly what I'm talking about. A proper English tea is so civilized. It's all about baby pink roses and fresh table linens, delicate bone china cups and saucers, fingertip sandwiches, scones, bath buns, biscuits, crumpets, and fairy cakes.
Invariably, it's also about good behavior. No matter the hurt, stress, frustration, or disappointment, tea always makes it better. And it brings out the best in us.
This month, I'll be posting my favorite tea recipes, along with some tea trivia, folklore, and history, as well as excerpts from children's and adult literature that mention tea. I'd love for you to join the celebration by sharing your favorite tea time recipes, whether they be sweet or savory. Do you like muffins with your tea? Cookies or quick breads? Or do you fancy scones, cake, tarts, madeleines, eclairs or gingerbread? What's your favorite sandwich filling?
Perhaps you'd rather share a memorable tea experience you've had, show off your teapot collection, pair your recipe with a poem, or talk about your favorite tea scene from a book or movie. Bring whatever you like to the party, and help us celebrate Spring!
Your place at the table will be available all month long, so post at your leisure.
1) Leave your link in the comments of any one of my upcoming tea party posts, or,
2) Email your recipe to me at readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot com), and I'll post it sometime during the month.
I'll round up all the posts, and you can access the list any time via the TEA PARTY link in my sidebar.
Here are some great resources for finding and enjoying poetry this month:
1. Elaine at Wild Rose Reader is celebrating National Poetry Month and the first birthday of her fabulous blog big time, with original poems, book recommendations, contests, and a list of resources for children, teachers and homeschoolers that goes on and on.
2. Check in regularly with Tricia at the Miss Rumphius Effect, who is featuring a poetry book every day, along with suggestions and activities for classroom application.
3. Cloudscome at A Wrung Sponge will be posting a haiga (haiku and image) every day this month. She also has a roundup of all the blogs featuring special poetry-related posts.
And now, it's time for tea! Here is my favorite recipe for lemon bars to get you started. Simple to make, and perfect with a cup of Darjeeling!
(makes 32 bars)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 T flour
3 T lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream first 3 ingredients and press into a 9-inch square pan. Bake 15 minutes. Add together the beaten eggs, the sugar, baking powder, salt and flour. Then add the lemon juice and lemon rind. Pour over the crust and return to a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. When cool, dust with powdered sugar.
Enjoy some Beatrix Potter with your Blueberry Muffins.
Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater suggests some Pumpkin Applesauce Teabread.
Some Pumpkin Muffins would be perfect for elevenses.
Get friendly with Jeannine Atkins' Dried Fruit Scones!
Tanita S. Davis shares her Dad's special recipe for tea cakes.
Stroll down memory lane with Marcel Proust and his madeleines.
If you're feeling adventurous, join Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves for some seed-cakes!
Read about tea party guest of honor Grace Lin's latest fantasy novel and the significance of gingerbread cupcakes with candied ginger icing!